“As a child growing up in a fishing family, big water and challenging conditions were the stories which always fascinated me,” recalls Nuala Moore.
So it is not unusual that Moore is transitioning from competitive ice swimming races in a 25m pool to a triple swim adventure in Patagonia in the Southern Hemisphere. Her journey includes three swims organized by Patagonia Swim:
1. Cape Horn at 55°58′ S, 67°16′ W
Moore will attempt a new route across the Cape Horn in Chile, the renowned graveyard of ships. At the southernmost tip of South America, the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean meet at the maritime boundary south at Cape Horn. “This is a new swim. I hope to be the first person to swim the one mile imaginary line that separates the two oceans without any land in any directions. With water temperatures of between 6-9°C, the strong wind conditions and remote location mark it as one of the most difficult swims in the world.”
2. Beagle Channel
The Beagle Channel is one of three navigable passages through South America. The channel’s eastern area forms part of the border between Chile and Argentina while its western area is entirely within Chile. “The swim planned is from Italy Glacier in Tierra del Fuego to Isla Gordon, a 2 km crossing of the Beagle Channel. This is a new challenge. One other person has completed this swim and I plan to do a double crossing, if weather permits.”
She will attempt this swim after her Cape Horn swim en route back up the Drake Passage and the Beagle Channel.
3. Strait of Magellan
The Strait of Magellan is a 5 km body of water that is known for its currents and cold conditions. Before the Panama Canal opened in Central America, the Strait of Magellan was one of three navigable sea routes connecting the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.
“The three swims will run one after the other so it will be intense. I will have a great team travelling with me: Catherine Buckland, Chris Booker, and Dr. Patrick Buck as well as the support of the Patagonia Swim team and the Chilean Navy.
The Cape Horn swim will be first. We will attempt the Beagle Channel (Italy Glacier) next en route back up from the Cape Horn, probably the day after and then head back to Puerta William, back to Punta Arenas. My slot there will be with a few others, but I am hoping that I will be able to do these back-to-back. If nothing else, I will do my best to enjoy the experience first and foremost.”
Moore will share her experiences with young people around the world. On March 9th, she will appear on ‘Exploring On The Seat Of Your Pants’ that is broadcast to classrooms in Canada and elsewhere. “It is a cool initiative that allows me to share information and transfer education to kids between the ages of 8 and 14 years.
So I am heading back to the open water. The ice to me was always about the open water, inspired by Lynne Cox and the South African 5 (Ryan Stramrood, Kieron Palframan, Toks Viviers, Ram Barkai, and Andrew Chin) who went to Cape Horn and presented at the 2011 WOWSA Awards Ceremony in New York where I listened and decided then that Patagonia was a journey that I wanted to take.
My life in the pool was only temporary and I am back to the happy environment of the sea.
The team coming with me are fantastic. I have great confidence in their ability to manage whatever outcome remote as it will be. I really trust Cristian Vergara and Julieta Núñez with their experience as well.
The opportunity to slide off a Zodiac and know that I am in a body of water in a part of the world where there is no land east or west is a dream, especially for someone like me who comes from a fishing family where these waters are similar to the ones that we grew up in.”
At the end of March, Moore will travel to Cape Horn with the Patagonia Swim team and take on the three swims over a period of 2 weeks.
“The biggest risk in these swims is separation from the boat, removal from the water in case of an emergency, and the recovery in a remote location, but the team and the vessel are great. The biggest risk for me is getting out of the water when we are so cold. Being removed from the water is not easy, my priority will be remote recovery. I want a team who can assist me remotely.
When I was at the Ocean Extreme Medicine course, I met with Catherine Buckland and Chris Booker. We were working the concept of swimmer recovery and we formed a relationship based on our focus on safety measures. They are both rescue divers and dive medics working in Antarctica in South Georgia. They are staying on in Chile to travel south with me and they will dive kitted and will be water ready which is perfect for me.
Dr. Patrick Buck is at the forefront in Ireland of hypothermia and remote emergency care and cold water injuries.”
To visit her GoFundMe page, visit here.
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